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Danny Paradise: From Egypt to the Shamans

My first ever yoga teacher thirteen years ago was Mariella de Martini, who is a student of Danny Paradise. It is therefore always a gift to be to have Danny in town as a testament to how many of us he brought yoga to as well as a reminder of the Ashtanga lineage that once hooked me in.

Danny’s class began with a characteristic discussion about the origins of yoga as well as the modern day epidemic of Depression. He spoke about the pharmaceutical industry and their desire to keep it growing for the sake of profit. But also how yoga had similarly spread world-wide as another kind of medicine to treat not only depression but also the roots of all disease.

Yet what is unique in Danny’s teaching style is that despite his rooted history in the tradition of Ashtanga he brings in his passion which is his connection to the shamanic roots of yoga. Danny argues that his predates India and goes back to the forests of early civilizations around the world. He spoke about the necessity to step out of the yoga studios and bring yoga back to its birth place – in nature. And once we returned to practicing in nature then the wisdom of the teachings could really begin to flow through. Hence he took us on a journey through the traditional sun salutations and then began to throw in poses he referenced as originating from Egypt and China. At which point, Anastasis from Zobra yoga made a guest appearance and shared poses from the ancient temples in India, involving great amounts of squatting on tip-toes and impeccable balance!

Amongst all of Danny’s cues and charisma another line which really jumped out at me was the importance of a self – practice, and how eventually this would lead to bringing not only our own bodies and minds into alignment but also those around us, as people would begin to notice the effects of our yoga practice. At this point we would most likely be invited to teach – to share this healing art – and as a result begin our path as a teacher. This progression is in stark contrast to the modern day addiction to 200 hour one month (or even less) teacher training courses. He also stressed how this organic sharing of yoga was why it had now spread throughout every culture and country. And with this growth also came innovation, as different ways of coming into and out of asana were birthed including new poses themselves. A reminder not to be so stuck in a specific and rigid way of doing something; even in our yoga practice.

It was a gift to see a teacher so dedicated and yet so clearly in love with freedom that yoga births through not only moving with more fluidity and stability but also the ability to really step outside of the box and return to a clearer and more authentic way of being.

Thank you Danny!

Written by : Suki Zoe

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